Visiting Hualien City 花蓮市, Taiwan's eastern metropolis located in the aboriginal heartland, is something every Taiwan enthusiast should do, if they truly want to see the best of the country. I arrived from Taitung City, Taiwan's southeastern gem and had the luck to enjoy a perfect summer day, when I rode through the city with my wife. Both cities have their own specific atmosphere and while Taitung City feels like a laid back small town, Hualien City aims for more. With its over 200.000 inhabitants, it's Eastern Taiwan's industrial and cultural center with the biggest port and airport in the region.
What I liked most about Hualien was the scenery. Be it the majestic mountains at its back or the blue Pacific ocean at its front, Hualien is located where two climates clash and mix up. It's very likely that you see grey hazy skies above one part of the city and a clear blue horizon on the other. And then there is the beautiful Taroko National Part and gorgeous sandy beaches right north of the city - where else in Taiwan do you have so many amazing things at one spot? Nowhere. Hualien is paradise, but sadly also exposed to the nature's worst antics: Typhoons and earthquakes. Another thing that made my stay in Hualien so memorable were the friendly people and the excellent food. People are just not as stressed out as in Taipei, quality of life is much better in Hualien. And then there is food: The city is famous for wontons, muaji and tiramisu. There are two big night markets and many popular stalls, that are attracting hundreds, if not thousands of people every day. You have to be there, see that and try the local food to truly realize what an important place it takes in the daily life of the people of Hualien. There could be so much more to say about this lovely city, but I'll let the photos speak for themselves.
Below is a list of 8 must-see and must-try things in Hualien. If you're planning to visit, this might be very useful to you:
1. The Shrines and temples
2. The food
3. The views
4. Pine garden
6. Taroko Gorge
7. The Pacific Ocean views
8. The night markets
What is there more to say than: Visit Hualien! If you chance to visit this beautiful island, organize a trip to Eastern Taiwan and you will not regret it. Hualien is one of Taiwan's most beautiful and friendly cities, with a lot of potential to become one of the island's top tourist destinations. It's not yet too crowded, so come and visit soon. The nature, the food, the people, the lifestyle: If you love Taiwan, you will definitely love Hualien as well. Not only that, you will cherish it as something special, something that it truly is.